I was 17 years old and halfway through my senior year of high school when I found out I was pregnant. My boyfriend was leaving for basic training in a month and my parents were going through a divorce at the time.
I felt that telling them I was pregnant would be a burden on their lives. I was petrified at the prospect of having to tell all three of the most important people in my life that I would have to give up three track scholarship offers I had worked so hard for to raise a child.
For a while, I was in denial. I couldn’t bring myself to accept that I would be bringing a new life into this world alone.
I was seven months pregnant when I told my boyfriend. He was out of state in military training, so there was nothing for him to do. He was just as scared as I was, if not more so. His first reaction was to “get rid” of the baby. He wasn’t ready to be a father and had no interest in becoming one.
For a pregnant woman, that was a hard pill to swallow—I had already fallen so deeply in love with my baby.
At eight months, I finally told my mom I was pregnant when I came home late one night after a 14-hour day of work. Even though I was still playing sports, my mom noticed that I was gaining weight like I never had before. I just felt like I couldn’t bring myself to tell her myself.
When the truth finally came out, my mother fell to the floor and cried. She asked my sister and brother if they knew about the baby, but since I hadn’t told them either, that just brought on more tears.
After that initial shock, my mom was concerned that my stomach was still so small even though I was eight months pregnant. I hadn’t taken any prenatal pills, I hadn’t been to a doctor, I didn’t know if the baby was healthy or even what gender he or she was. I only knew my baby was alive by every single one of the heart-filling kicks.
My mom and I started calling clinics to find out about our options. I was so far along that there weren’t many options but to have this baby. Because I was so far along and hadn’t had any prenatal care, I was considered high-risk and couldn’t find a doctor to take me into their care.
That’s when we found Ms. Brenda at Pregnancy Decision Health Centers. She was able to calm my mom down and give her enough peace of mind to sleep—which she hadn’t been able to do for days. Ms. Brenda told us we wouldn’t have to pay to be seen, and that was a huge stress-reliever for us, especially because we didn’t have insurance.
Ms. Brenda could see how terrified my mom was about the baby’s health. She took us to do some measurements of the baby, and everything looked great. She also gave us some information about PDHC and how they could help us.
At one point, we were considering adoption. We knew a happily married couple that wanted a child but didn’t have the option to have one naturally. Ms. Brenda was extremely supportive, telling us that adoption could be as open as we wanted. She also reassured us that making an adoption plan would bring untold joy to a family.
Ms. Brenda sent me home with information I needed to navigate my situation, and she made it clear that there was no way in this world she was going to let me do it alone.
Before we left, she let me pick out something for the baby from their mom store, and I picked a pair of little white booties that I still have today. Those booties were the first sign of hope to me that I could be a great mom to this baby.
Ms. Brenda left me feeling that no matter what decision I made, I would always have support and someone to talk to without being judged or viewed as another teenage statistic. Ms. Brenda and PDHC also referred me to an amazing ob-gyn who helped me through the last month of my pregnancy with the utmost respect and care.
That doctor is one of the most kindhearted people I have ever met, and I truly thank him for saving Rowan’s life and my own. At my first appointment, we met Rowan, my beautiful and very healthy baby boy. He was absolutely stunning.
Rowan has turned my life around a complete 180. He is the biggest motivation when it comes to school or working I remind myself that everything I do is for him to live an even better life than I did. Waking up to his enormous bright smile reminds me to never give up, and to push through when things get tough.
Without a doubt, he is the most blissful blessing that was ever given to me. Seeing him laugh, play, and walk all through our home is so captivating. They’re memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.
I’ll be forever grateful for Ms. Brenda. She always told me that in life, we always have a choice, and that I didn’t have to give up my dreams and aspirations just because I was bringing a new life into the world.
I have decided to continue on with college, I married my U.S. soldier, and have celebrated Rowan’s first birthday.
Without Ms. Brenda and PDHC, I truly don’t believe my son would be alive. Ms. Brenda loves every minute of her job and it truly shows. God has given her a gift and it is a blessing to be around her. Her job is to empower and change the lives of women, and when I met her, she did just that.
A year later, she still contacts me to check up on my family and offer to help in any way that’s possible. She gave me the strength to follow my dreams of being an ob-gyn, and reminded me to never give up, because God will always make a way.